Up the ladder of depravity with Lianne

The number of times I have agreed with the wowser cabal would be fewer than the thumbs on one hand.

And yet when Lianne Dalziel went on high bleat to the Broadcasting Standards Authority last Thursday over the unsuitability of Coronation Street for New Zealand's children, I sadly nodded my head in agreement.

My blood sugar was fine - diabetics on the cusp of hypoglycemic coma are notorious for nodding their heads in agreement when confronted by wrong-headed theory - and my brain was racing with the pinpoint accuracy I normally reserve for watching sport on the telly.

Lianne's words rang terribly true "Coronation Street now deals with incredibly complex issues," she said. "Serious issues that challenge some of the values parents would want to instil in their children."

She is right. The Ena Sharples/Elsie Tanner Coro she remembers fondly has nothing on the racy raunch Grenada is foisting on us these days.

Humans are hurled into the canal regularly, some rescued, some not, drunken Oasis lookalikes are driven over in the street like slow-footed hedgehogs, the wretched Dev slept with both mother and daughter, then, incredibly, a golf coach, and last week former recidivist criminal Graeme crashed to near-death when Norris forgot to hang on to his ladder.

If our children are going to grow up thinking you don't have to hold a ladder steady, then God help us.

But the pervasive malevolence of Coro runs so much deeper than mere murder and rampaging rumpy pumpy.

Consider some of the current storylines. I'm no lawyer, but I would guarantee that somewhere in all those big same-spine books lawyers are photographed in front of on TV there is legislation forbidding sexual union with the mentally handicapped.

In which case the wretched John (with the wretched Rosie), Lloyd (with the wretched Teresa), Teresa (with Lloyd), Molly (with Tyrone, though probably only on Guy Fawkes night), Violet, Candice, Becky, Rosie, Tina, Maria, Julie and Sarah (with Jason), Kirk (with the wretched Julie) and Julie (with Kirk), have all committed this morally heinous crime.

One should add Ken to this list, I suppose. Despite his age and disgustingly burgeoning belly, he must occasionally get his leg over the wretched Deidre.

All this is a whale of sexual depravity for a child to take on board so early in the evening.

Even more damage is being poured into young brains with the current characterisation. Look no further than the wretched noir-coutured Carla, forever clacking her away across Coro's cobblestones.

The woman has only one facial expression. One. Thousands of young New Zealand girls will thus grow up with blank pained super-glued facial expressions, turning 2020s New Zealand womanhood into a Tussaud's Museum.

Our young boys?

Somehow they must be kept from watching Dev and his monstrous overacting for fear they think this is how real men behave. For the Dev we have had to endure over the past two years - so inferior to the smooth-talking over-sexed lying swine of the years before - Coro should be shown no earlier than midnight.

Coro's tentacles touch every aspect of contemporary life. We know this. What then are they saying to our young contemplating a life in business, the very future of our country?

Gail's wretched kitchen-building partner Joe lives in a permanent state of massive debt, Steve McDonald runs a taxi company that has no more than four fares a week, and the many turnstile-clicking owners of Underworld are trying to supply Manchester with quality knickers despite maintaining a staff barely capable of ripping movie tickets in half at the local cinema.

In fact, is there a local cinema?

No there isn't. Is Coro telling us cinema is wrong, are they telling us to, and I'm whispering now, download?

Lianne Dalziel has made mistakes in the past - shucks, haven't we all - but she's on the button this time.

Coronation Street should be pushed into the bowels of the night, far far away from our impressionable children.

• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.


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